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35
PROLOGUE
He had absolutely no idea where he’d been It was then that he worked out for sure that now out of the window, but he was still conscious.
taken. A couple of turns out of Niddrie and this wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment thing. Two He could hear them laughing as he slumped over
he’d become completely disorientated. The big pickaxe handles and one baseball bat placed on to his side.
guy in the back of the car had wrapped his arms neatly between the tracks. Each of the three guys
around his head. Probably not necessarily to stop from the car had prepared their weapons a long The fi rst hit using the weapons was sore. It
him from seeing where they were going but more time before they managed to get him there. He’d landed on his left shoulder but the shock and
likely to keep him from shouting or bailing out thought as much when he was hustled out of the hurt made its way all through his torso. The sec-
of the door. The big guy was strong as well, his car. ond hit wasn’t a picnic either. It probably broke
arms consisting of bone and muscle only. His a few ribs but the muscle and fl esh of his stomach
face had felt like a vice was pressing against it and Up ’til then only the guy behind him had had taken some of the sting out of the actual con-
the back of his head was forced hard into the spoken and he was defi nitely an Edinburgher. tact. This was good though. If they were working
cushion of the headrest. The accent was obvious. None of the deep brogue his body then it meant they probably didn’t mean
of the other Scottish city dialects. No ‘fi t like?’, to kill him. The third hit, landing squarely on his
Through a slight gap in the arms he could see ‘ehm awah’ or ‘awright, nawrat?’ In Edinburgh, left ear, was a surprise. Not so much the shock
glints of light casting through but no way was it even those from the roughest parts of town that they had now moved on to breaking his skull.
enough to enable him to fi nd his bearings. He managed to verbalise in a way that was all at once He probably was expecting as much but what he
hadn’t been taken far, though, when his head was broad, yet somehow proper. As if to insinuate wasn’t expecting was that a full-on blow to the
released and he was dragged out of the car. He ‘we’re from the capital city – and you’re not’. side of his head with a wooden implement would
looked around the skyline and he could recognise hurt so little. Surely that would be worse than the
Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags. He thought it The driver though. Once he spoke with his body shots but for some reason this one was mild
looked like they were on the south side of them. Manc drawl he’d began to realise that this was an by comparison.
Couldn’t recognise any of the buildings, though. organised thing. Guys brought together from
Not particularly unusual. He’d only been in different parts of the country. Probably never Then more hits but, strangely, less pain. Some
Edinburgh just over a year and although it may met before. Put together to do one job. One job to the head but mainly around his chest and
not have been the biggest of cities he’d only man- that they were about to polish off with their care- back; he could still feel the impact of the hits as
aged to familiarise himself with a small part of it. fully chosen tools. they contacted with his body. Or not so much
feel as hear. Dull thuds in an uneven rhythm.
A short walk-cum-drag and he’d been pulled They’d reached around a metre from the track The pain had gone. He was over that. Past it. Just
towards a railway line. An old railway line that when he felt the hit on the nape of his neck. He like he was past the whole situation. Had it up to
clearly hadn’t been used in some time. Orange- couldn’t tell if it was a clenched fi st or a cosh but here with it.
brown corrosion matting the surfaces of the track they were probably trying something they’d seen
where a smooth sheen would have been if train in a movie. Like when the secret superagent hero ‘Fuckin’ deadbeat small town Scots! Fuckin’
wheels had coursed over them any time recently. is dunted in the back of the neck and is spark out wankers. Mancunian twats! Wannabe gangsters
Sleepers resting comfortably under grit and stone for a couple of hours. They hadn’t knocked him the whole fuckin’ lot of them. Ah don’t need this!
that hadn’t been disturbed in some time. out though. All the strength had left his legs and Don’t need them! Ah’m outta here!’
his plan to make an escape along the track was
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